While some people think that the extra moisture in wet food can give cats diarrhea, others say that the fillers in dry food can do the same thing. We all want to do what’s best for our cats and make sure they’re happy and healthy.
But it can be tricky to decide just what to feed our feline friends when there are so many conflicting opinions on which food is best. So which type should you feed your cat and can wet food cause diarrhea?
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While your choice of cat food can potentially give your friend a tummy upset it’s not down to the food being wet. In fact wet food is likely to be much better for your cat than dry.
Cats are carnivores and require a high-quality animal protein based diet to stay healthy. Most wet foods are made up of mainly meat, while dry foods tend to contain grains and vegetables. Not only does your cat not need these in their diet but they can actually cause dehydration and other tricky poop issues.
The moisture content is actually one of the great things about wet food. It’s really important that your cat stays well hydrated. As all cat owners know, cats can be picky creatures and it can be really difficult to convince them to take a drink and eating wet food can help make up for this.
If your poor cat is suffering from runny stools simply switching from wet food to dry is not the answer. So, what can you do to firm things up?
How can I firm up my cat’s stool?
You might not have to do anything. Diarrhea is one of your cat’s natural defense mechanisms and usually clears up by itself. Once whatever has upset your cat’s stomach has been passed and they’ve had a chance to rest, it will typically stop in a day or two.
That said there are a few cases where diarrhea should be treated seriously:
- Your cats stool contains blood, is black or tarry
- Your cat is vomiting as well as experiencing diarrhea
- The diarrhea is very watery and/or very frequent
- Your cat is very old or very young
- Your cat has underlying health conditions
- Your cat seems particularly distressed or in pain
If your cat experiences any of these symptoms, or has mild diarrhea for 36 hours or more, call your vet.
Most of the time, your cat will have just eaten something that didn’t agree with them and there’s nothing much to worry about. One of the most common causes of digestive problems in cats is a change in cat food. If you’ve recently changed your cats regular food and find they’ve developed mild diarrhea, go back to what you were previously feeding them and see if it clears up.
If you haven’t altered your cat’s diet recently then it’s a good idea to have a think about what your cat’s been up to in the last day or two. Did it drink any milk? Did you notice it pawing at the garbage? Did something cause it stress?
All of these things can cause a temporary bout of diarrhea that should clear up pretty quickly on its own. It’s important to rule out these possibilities before taking any other action. Try keeping a food diary to monitor exactly what you cat eats and how they acts throughout the day to get a clear idea of what could be upsetting their stomach.
If you cat doesn’t have any serious health concerns and continues to have loose stools, then altering their diet is probably a best way to firm them up.
What cat food is best for cats with diarrhea?
Rather than a particular type of food being universally good or bad for cat digestion, all cats are unique and have their own sensitivities. It can just be a matter of trial and error until you find the food that most agrees with your cat.
The first thing you should do if you’re thinking of changing your cat’s diet to relieve diarrhea is put a stop to the treats. Biscuits, nibbles, and table scraps need to be off the menu. Stick to giving your cat food that meets its core nutritional needs until you get to the bottom of things. The important thing to focus on is making sure your cat’s diet is nutritionally complete, easy to digest, and one it enjoys eating.
Diarrhea can be caused by feeding your cat low quality food which can be hard to digest. Pick a food which contains only natural ingredients and is high in meat content and avoid cheaper brands which can include additives or unnecessary ingredients to bulk them out.
You can try cooking a simple meal of white rice and boiled chicken while your cat recovers. These are fairly bland ingredients that are generally easy for cats to digest and have a low risk of irritating their stomach further.
Once the diarrhea has cleared up make sure you gradually reintroduce your cat’s regular food mixed in with the chicken and rice rather than switching back suddenly which can further irritate your cat’s stomach.
If your cat still has issues after trying a few different foods it’s worth considering switching to a hypoallergenic cat diet, especially in middle aged and older cats. Even if your cat has been eating the same food for years it’s possible for them to develop allergies as they age.
A good way to tell if your cat has an allergy is if they are generally healthy aside from occasional diarrhea. If they are alert, energetic, a healthy weight and generally acting themselves then it’s definitely a possibility. Your vet should be able to recommend an effective hypoallergenic food.
Readers Favorite Canned Foods:
- Ziwi Peak
- Feline Natural
- Life’s Abundance Pork & Lamb
- Weruva (grab a Weruva Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food (Pack of 12, 3-ounce cans) on Amazon to try it out)
- Weruva Cats in the Kitchen
- Merrick Purrfect Bistro Duck Pate Canned Cat Food
- Earthborn Holistic Catalina Catch Mackerel Dinner with Shrimp Wet Cat Food
- Tiki Cat (grab a Tiki Cat Gourmet Whole Food 12-Pack 9-Flavor Variety Pack on Amazon to try it out)
- Wellness Signature Selects Grain Free Shredded Chicken & Chicken Liver Natural Wet Canned Cat Food
- Wellness Natural Grain Free Signature Selects Flaked Wet Cat Food Variety Pack Box
- Hounds and Gatos
- Nature’s Variety Rabbit
- Ziwi Peak Chicken
- Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken Pâté Canned Cat Food
- and others.
- There are other cat food brands that I like, like Nature’s Logic, but they won’t eat it. My brother’s cat will though – so don’t eliminate it entirely. You’ve gotta find the brands, flavors, etc. that work for you and for your cat.
- Raw Cat Food Diet
- You can make your own from scratch - 3 DIY Homemade Cat Food Recipes
- Big Bear Pet Company Makers of KatManFood and Hoo-RAW! Use the Big Bear Pet Coupon Code “FLOPPY20” to get 20% off your first order.
- Raw Paws Pet Food – Save 10% On All Orders on Raw Paws Website – Code RAWTAKE10
- Nature’s Variety (easiest to find)
- Stella & Chewy’s (each batch tested for bacteria and salmonella)
- Bravo (usually cheapest)
- Primal (usually most expensive)
- Rad Cat (Higher priced, use free-range meat)
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Food
What home remedy can I give my cat for diarrhea?
A great way of taking care of mildly loose stools in cats is to feed them pumpkin puree. Here's a video demonstrating how to prepare and feed a cat pumpkin puree.
Can worms cause diarrhea in cats?
Worms and other parasites can cause diarrhea in cats and in fact it’s a pretty common cause. If you suspect your cat does have worms (it’s usually pretty obvious from a quick inspection of the litter tray) it’s best to speak to your vet and treat with their recommended medication rather than testing something on your own.